NHS/Government vaccine update
Many Telford and Wrekin residents aged 80 and over have received letters inviting them to book a vaccination at the new NHS vaccination centres due to open this week.
The letters ask people to travel to one of seven sites throughout the country and explain how they can book a slot either over the phone or online through a national booking service.
130,000 letters have been sent out nationally so far, with another 500,000 following on this week.
However, local people have been contacting Telford & Wrekin Council Leader, Councillor Shaun Davies, concerned that the IT system directs them to the nearest available site even if it’s hundreds of miles away.
Telford & Wrekin Council together with our local health partners had no advance knowledge that some of our residents would be written to by the National NHS this weekend, despite requesting regular updates from government on their plans for the vaccination roll-out.
Councillor Shaun Davies, explained:
“Whilst it is excellent news that more local people will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine over the next few weeks, I am extremely frustrated that letters have been sent out without our knowledge to many of our borough’s older and more vulnerable residents.
“Additionally when they try to make an appointment as instructed in the letter many are being directed as far away as Manchester or Bristol and conversely residents from those areas are being offered appointments in Birmingham. This smacks of the early days of coronavirus testing when people were being directed all over the country, rather to their nearest available testing centres. It’s simply not good enough and has caused considerable concern at an already anxious time.
“Thankfully we have lobbied hard to ensure there will be a large testing centre operation at the Telford International Centre before the end of this month and the council is providing support in making this happen. There will be a vaccination hub at PRH as well as a site in Newport. Additionally many more of our GP surgeries are looking to work together to roll out local vaccinations services to their patients over the next few weeks.
“So if people don’t want to travel and would prefer to stay closer to home they will have that option made available to them. They will be contacted by the NHS or their local GP, although may need to wait a little longer for their vaccination.
“As a local authority we are incredibly keen for the vaccination programme to work and will continue to push the government hard, so that local people get the best and most appropriate support throughout this pandemic. We are committed to ensuring we protect and care for all of our residents and that’s exactly what we are doing.”